849: Antics

On our way back from vacation last week, we stopped halfway for lunch and to give the tiny human some time to run around. We went to the fast-food chain Sonic. There was one other family sitting outside and I immediately chose the table next to them, as they also had kids and play mates for the boy is always a huge plus. I wouldn’t say they were hostile, but they were certainly cold. As my husband pointed out later now knowing they were from some francophone African or Caribbean country, in his Tommy Bahama button down and Panama hat, he was pretty much wearing the international White Entitled Jerk uniform, which probably made them wary. Anyway, the younger child, around 2 kept wanting to get up and come say hello and her father kept harshly telling her to sit in her seat. My son, meanwhile was running amok and eventually went up to make friends with the girl. Her father relented and I started playing interpreter for Walter, who at this point can only string two words together and is thus hard to understand. As it turned out, the little girl was even harder to understand, her language a fuzzy mix of French and English that was totally indecipherable to me. There was a lot of nodding and agreeing vaguely. Then the older child, who had been shyly waving at me, decided to come over. Until that point I hadn’t been sure if the child was a boy or a girl. Like his younger sister, his hair was a complex tapestry of beautiful short black braids. He had a rhinestone stud in one ear and very bright silver chain around his neck. Standing up, I was pretty sure the kid was a boy. Anyway, my son was wearing a dress, so the kids’ parents had been referring to him as a she. The boy, whose English was as good as any other 4 year old American, asked his name and confirmed that he was a boy. His face lit up. “I’m a boy too!” He then showed off his bling, presumably pointing out the elements of dress that sometimes caused confusion for him like Walter’s dress. I pointed out that my husband also had one earring. I asked his name and he said something many syllabled and French sounding. I smile blankly. Then he said “I’m Jake.” I still looked a bit blank. He followed with “She’s Izzy!” Catching on I announced that Walter was “Cubby” and asked who was Cap’n Hook. He pointed to his dad. Ice broken we had a merry game of Jake and the Neverland Pirates (see, this is why letting your kids watch TV is so important, shared culture!) and by the end of lunch I was swinging them around and the parents were laughing. It was such a rewarding experience to go from being regarded as Other and Suspicious to just being two families out for lunch and having a good time.